Saturday, January 29, 2011

Forty days til 40!?!?!?

In 40 days, I’ll be 40-years-old. I remember my mother’s 40th birthday like it was yesterday. I was 10 at the time. There were balloons, cards and signs everywhere that read “Over the Hill.” I thought she was so old. Well now I say, to hell with that – 40 is the new 25.

Forty? How can that be? Age is just a number, a state of mind. That’s what I’ve always told myself and strongly believed, but that belief system is now being majorly tested as this milestone quickly approaches.

Forty. It just sounds so mature. So established. So set-in-your-ways. Yet, I’m none of those things.

When my father was 40, he had an established career, owned a home, and was married with four kids. My career – well, let’s just say it’s currently in a transitional phase, shifting slightly, but with great potential. I still rent. I’m single, not married. And as for kids, well, let’s face it – inside I’m still just a kid myself.

Is this where I imagined myself at 40? I don’t really know. Truthfully, I never gave it much thought. But these days, the clock and calendar constantly nag at my thoughts, wondering what I’ve done with forty years of life. Contemplating the choices I’ve made and reevaluating their outcomes. No wonder I’m developing gray hair.

I guess you could say I’ve taken the road less traveled. I’m a dreamer, a trait which has greatly influenced my life. Over the years, my dreams may have changed slightly, but they are still very much on the horizon. It’s never too late. Dreams do come true. Life can change in an instant. Those are sentiments I still firmly believe in.

Am I content with turning 40? Hardly. Do I have any regrets? Honestly, no - not really. Other than not having sex in college, that I definitely regret. (I was a late bloomer.)

Could I compile a list of all the things I think I should have achieved or obtained by now? Certainly. Like a million dollars in the bank. Or that Pierre Koenig case study home in the hills. Or a successful relationship with the man of my dreams. Or becoming a Carrington. (I told you I was a dreamer.) Maybe I haven’t achieved much in forty years? Or maybe those should be my goals for the next forty years?

Do I wish I had accomplished more and achieved more? Absolutely! But what I have achieved during these first forty years of my life, are truly the things that matter. Like an honest, loving, deeply-connected relationship with my family. A supportive, nurturing, caring circle of friends. Fulfilling my passion project – launching my one-man show Becoming Butch. And living my life openly and honestly, without shame or regret. To me, that’s what spells success.

And when I think of the moments that define my life, the moments I’m most fond of – they never have anything to do with money or material possessions. They are the look of unconditional love on my parents' faces when I informed them that I was gay. The smile on my niece’s faces as we sang and danced together to Beauty and the Beast when they were kids, and now to Lady Gaga as adults. The drive cross-country with my cousin. The adventures shared with my best friend in Italy, Greece and here at home. Officiating my friend's wedding as she married the man of her dreams. The first time I fell in love. The first time I heard my writing made a difference in someone else's life. Those are the moments that define a rich and successful life.

My first forty years have been pretty spectacular; the next forty are going to be even better.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010 - A Great Year!

Before I set my goals for the New Year, here’s a look back at the Top 10 moments/events that shaped my life in 2010.

10. “A goal a month” was my goal for the year. January – I vowed to not wear the same outfit twice and discovered I have way too many clothes, not to mention 40 pairs of underwear. February was credit card free and really didn’t bother me; April was alcohol free – I think I succeeded, and May marked another run of my one-man show Becoming Butch.

9. P90X – my latest workout adventure - 12 weeks, 6 days a week – it was absolutely brutal. I lost about 10 pounds, but only lasted about 8 weeks. (Maybe I’ll revisit in 2011 – God help me.)

8. Oprah & I celebrated my birthday together at the Kodak Theatre. Well, she was on stage with the 2010 Academy Award winners, while I was sandwiched between a bunch of desperate housewives in the mezzanine section, but at least we were in the same room.

7. “Whatchoo talkin’ bout Willis?” – Poor Gary Coleman – my childhood hero passed away. It was a sad day.

6. “Baby, I’m a firework” – with lyrics like, “Do you know that there’s still a chance for you, cause there’s a spark in you” and “Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed, so you can open one that leads to the perfect road” Katy Perry’s Firework officially became my theme song.

5. It Gets Better – with the tragic loss of so many young lives this year, the It Gets Better campaign rasied awareness about the struggles gay youth continue to face and urged many of us to come forward offering advice and hope.

4. Pushing the envelope – my latest personal essay, published by ENR – Engineering News-Record - was a short story about my relationship with my father and our differences. Who knew the word “gay” would stir up so much attention and cause quite the controversy in this rather conservative magazine?

3. Becoming Butch 2010 – my one-man show had another successful run at the Celebration Theatre (thanks to all who attended) in May of 2010, and even earned me the title of Outstanding Solo Performance by StageSceneLA.

2. Setting Sail – After that successful run, I was asked to perform Becoming Butch aboard the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship for Atlantis Events. 17 days at sea, 13 cities, 6 performances, and countless memories. It was the opportunity of a lifetime!

1. Family & Friends – None of my goals would ever be achieved if it weren’t for the love and support of my family and friends. One of the year’s biggest highlights was performing my show while my mother, sisters and nieces were in the audience watching and supporting me. I’ve been blessed with a supportive and loving family and an amazing group of friends, who are now part of my extended family. Thank you all for your continued love and support – I couldn’t do it without you.